Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has claimed that leaving Manchester United on a free transfer in the summer of 2010 ‘was the best decision he ever made’.
Heaton spent eight years at Man United between 2002 and 2010, but the goalkeeper failed to make a single appearance for the Red Devils – spending time on loan with the likes of Swindon Town and Wycombe Wanderers – before leaving to join Cardiff City on a free.
The 31-year-old has since developed into one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Premier League, with his form for Burnley over the last couple of seasons earning the Chester-born stopper a place in the England set-up.
Heaton has revealed that former Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson was not pleased with his decision to leave, but the Englishman does not regret seeking pastures new after failing to make the grade at Old Trafford.
Heaton told Sky Sports:
“He had me in the office to talk about a new contract and obviously I had decided it was time for me to go. He wasn’t best pleased at that moment in time.
“I had been there 13 years or so and I was walking out of the door on a free. The time and effort they had put in, I could understand it, but as ever, I have got so much respect for him.
“I always felt I needed to go and earn the stripes really. I always felt I was going to be good enough, I just wanted to go and get the experience, the practical experience, and at that point I didn’t have it.”
“That was probably the best decision I made. It was my decision. I stand by the decision, it was a tough one to make, with it being Manchester United having signed there as an 11-year-old.”
Heaton will come up against his former club on Sunday afternoon when top-four hopefuls Man United travel to Burnley in the Premier League.